NBC10 in Philadelphia has tracked down a man they caught jamming people's cell phone transmission on the public bus commute.The Philadelphia cell phone jammer was first discovered by an employee of the news station who wishes to remain anonymous, but for the sake of the story she will be referred to as Marie.
She explains what was happening when she first saw the man that is calling himself Eric:
“He’s blatantly holding this device that looks like a walkie-talkie with four very thick antennae. I started to watch him and any time somebody started talking on the phone, he would start pressing the button on the side of the device,”
After witnessing the strange event, she reported what she saw to the investigative team at the station and they set out to find the man. Apparently, it wasn't hard, within a few minutes of boarding the same bus Marie and the team spotted him jamming some more phone conversations.
They observed him off and on for the next couple weeks, but eventually confronted him about the device one afternoon as he exited the bus. They told Eric that his device was illegal, and he responded:
“It is my understanding it is more of a gray area. It is my understanding that it’s illegal to, you know, stop a television signal, a radio signal. You know, it’s my understanding according to the FCC that it’s not illegal to disrupt a cell phone signal,”
But according to NBC10 and the FCC, owning or using cell phone jamming devices is illegal. Also according to NBC10, it carries up to a $16,000 fine and possible jail time. When asked about why he's jamming cell phones on the bus Eric was happy to respond:
“A lot of people are extremely loud, no sense of just privacy or anything. When it becomes a bother, that’s when I screw on the antenna and flip the switch,”
“I guess I’m taking the law into my own hands, and quite frankly, I’m proud of it.”
Here's a video of the Philadelphia cell phone jammer taken by NBC10:
I suppose it's not right to jam people's conversations, but I have often thought about how rude it is to carry on on a conversation in an otherwise quiet space occupied by an audience. On the other hand, shouldn't this guy mind his own business? Go somewhere where you can be alone if you need peace. I realize that probably means leaving the city, but the city has never been for those who enjoy peace and quiet, has it?
Marie comments on seeing Eric on her bus ride after confronting him:
“Every time I see this guy on the bus, I have a mixture of fear and anger. Part of me wants to go up to him and say, ‘Stop doing this, how dare you,’”
I wouldn't get too upset Marie, you know, there was a time in the "old days" when people didn't even have cell phones! Imagine how fighting that was? Yes, back then people actually just carried on conversations with the people around them. Boy that would have really pissed off the Philadelphia cell phone jammer! He would probably have to buy his own car, as I don't think there's a device that can jam face to face conversation.
I wonder if the Philadelphia cell phone jammer uses a cell phone? He probably has prepay:
"Hello, it's me Eric........okay I'll meet you there, I gotta go, I think I'm upsetting people by talking."